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The Issue

The 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW58) – the annual gathering of States to address critical issues related to gender equality and women’s rights — is focusing on “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls”.

Taking place at United Nations Headquarters in New York, from 10-21 March 2014, Member States, UN entities and accredited NGOs from around the world will take stock of progress and remaining challenges towards meeting the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The MDGs have sought to: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger (Goal 1); achieve universal primary education (Goal 2); promote gender equality and empower women (Goal 3); reduce child mortality (Goal 4); improve maternal health (Goal 5); combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases (Goal 6); ensure environmental sustainability (Goal 7); and develop a global partnership for development (Goal 8). They include 21 targets with 60 indicators.

For detailed information and statistics on the state of progress towards the MDGs for women and girls, as well as UN Women’s ongoing efforts, see our special compilation, or click on a specific goal:

MDG banner with eight hotspots linking to each of the 8 MDG goals MDG goal 8 MDG goal 7 MDG goal 6 MDG goal 5 MDG goal 4 MDG goal 3 MDGs goal 2 MDG goal 1

The MDGs have played an important role in galvanizing attention on and resources for gender equality and women’s empowerment. Important gains have been made, for instance in girls’ access to primary education. However, overall progress for women and girls has been uneven and fallen short of expectations.

According to the Secretary-General’s report for CSW on the issue, while the MDGs capture some important aspects of gender equality, the targets are narrow and misaligned from the full spectrum of women’s and girls’ rights set out in key global agreements. Important dimensions of gender inequality were omitted in the Goals, such as unpaid care work, violence against women and girls, sexual and reproductive health and rights, women’s access to assets, the gender wage gap and women’s equal participation at all levels of decision-making.

Beyond the MDGs

With the MDGs set to expire at the end of 2015, these discussions come at a critical moment, as UN Member States are looking ahead at defining the future global development roadmap – also known as the post-2015 agenda. Expectations are high that CSW58 will guide a forward-looking development blueprint that stresses the importance of ensuring women’s rights, empowerment and gender equality.

CSW58 information bulletin coverpage

On the eve of the meeting, on International Women’s Day, the year-long mobilization for the 20th anniversary and review of the landmark Beijing Platform for Action will kick off, galvanizing further momentum to shape the future development agenda.        

More than 6000 representatives from 860 civil society organizations have registered for CSW58. Nearly 135 events have been organized by UN agencies at UN Headquarters in New York, alongside the official meetings of the Commission, as well as more than 300 parallel events hosted by the NGO community close to the UN premises.

The Agreed Conclusions (advance unedited version) are available here.

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MDG progress for women and girls

Rural villagers walk to and from a water well in Shatkhira, Bangladesh. 2010.

International Women's Day

Female construction student at suco development project in Liquica. Photo: UN Women/Betsy Davis

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